Looking for a place that serves great food in a warm, inviting, cozy atmosphere? Check out Mary Grace Cafe at Greenbelt Makati and Serendra Taguig.
My first visit to this restaurant was last month, and I’ve been going at least once a week ever since, on a weekend, sometimes to eat there twice a day – brunch and dinner.
First, let’s look at the interiors. They’re all country, no rock-n-roll. Think of a cottage decorated with Papemelroti accessories and salvaged architectural elements such as carved wood trim and balusters and stained-glass windows.
The facade of Mary Grace Cafe in Greenbelt, Makati City. Notice the fairy lights around the windows! Information such as store hours and contact numbers are painted on the glass door, rather than inscribed on a sign that would mar the view.
Inside, look up and be amazed at the ceiling’s display of clusters of lanterns and glass jars. I love this! I will duplicate this in my home. One day. When I get around to it.
The upper level of the cafe in Greenbelt is a loft that might be the dining room and sala of your quirky artist aunt’s cottage in Laguna, or something. It murmurs “come in, sit down, eat!”
The interior of Mary Grace Cafe – Serendra. It’s small but still warm with brick and wood trim accents, and all sorts of country-style decor. There are racks of magazines to read while waiting.
Now for the food!
The tables are wooden, the tops covered with glass, underneath which are handwritten notes from happy patrons. Popular menu items include Mary Grace hot chocolate, Filipino-style with ground peanuts, served in a mismatched cup and saucer for a colorful touch; and the cassava chips and onion dip. You must try these. YOU MUST.
Here’s a tip: bring a large 16-oz tumbler with lid or a thermos and combine a cup of the hot chocolate with a cup of brewed coffee. It’s mocha, Pinoy-style.
Their iced teas are really good, and come in several fruity flavors. Our favorite is the apple and cinnamon honey – “Apple pie in a glass!” my youngest daughter calls it.
Start with a bowl of hearty soup. This is my eldest daughter’s favorite – the cream of mushroom soup. It’s savory without being too salty; it’s just right.
The menu runs to salads, pastas, and pastries. Craving a rice meal? They serve Filipino breakfast with rice until 5pm. This is the Vigan longganisa (sausage) plate that comes with two eggs anyway you like it.
The seafood pasta blends flavors of the sea with earthy vegetables and bread.
The tomato pasta is muy delicioso.
The Kesong Puti salad with Calamansi Vinaigrette teases your palate with interesting flavors.
The mushroom and cheese pizza is on a crunchy thin crust sprinkled with cornmeal for added texture.
Cap off your meal with a slice – or two – of cinnamony, nutmeggy, whipped cream-y apple pie.
Grilled ensaymada – grilling melts the cheese, toasts the top of the pastry, and warms it through.
Mary Grace started out as a home business in the mid-90s, with the owner selling melt-in-your-mouth ensaymada from her dad’s machinery store along Vito Cruz Street, Manila. I remember how fame of her pastries spread via word-of-mouth, and bought boxes of ensaymada one holiday in the late 90s to give as gifts. I gave a box to the late Speaker of the House Ramon V. Mitra Jr., and was surprised when he called back saying he loved them and asking where to buy.
It’s heartwarming to see that from those humble beginnings more than a decade ago, Mary Grace has grown, giving it more ways to bring its delicious baked goods and food to a wider clientele.
All photos taken with an iPhone 4S.